Again, AMT’s Technology Issues Committee hosted an excellent forum in which new ideas and industry-led innovations inspired participants to consider new technologies and their impact on manufacturing applications.
The Manufacturing Technology Forum is held every 2 years. This year’s event took place in Orlando, Fla., just prior to The MFG Meeting. The forum brought together a diverse group of technology users, technology providers, and researchers to share information and to think about the trends on the shop floor today and to consider what might be necessary in the future.
Dr. Don Kinard, Lockheed-Martin Senior Fellow, provided the keynote presentation Innovative Technologies, Manufacturing and How the F-35 is Made. He touched on several aspects involved in producing the Joint Strike Fighter: the digital thread, advanced composites and the greater use of robotics and automation technologies. He provided additional understanding on how Lockheed-Martin is leveraging advances made by various technology developers toward reducing the total touch labor per plane. His presentation was followed by Dr. David Brookstein, Philadelphia University/MAG Composite Institute, who outlined a number of advances being made by MAG in their fiber placement machines. The ability of these machines to deposit and build up ever-increasing complex parts continues to improve.
The rest of the day provided insights from GE Aviation, General Dynamics, Ford and many others into current technology and future advances. There was also an update on the status of MTConnect® from Dave Edstrom who discussed the importance of this interoperability standard.
Other technologies touched on at the forum included additive manufacturing, minimum quantity lubrication, electronics cooling, coatings and lubricants. Additionally, an informative and in-depth presentation from Dr. Dwight Carlson on the recent advances by the Precision Engineering and Manufacturing Alliance (high speed, high definition micron level metrology, advanced precision machining, and plant floor real-time process control) provided other areas to consider.
The second day provided talks on advanced research and development activities occurring in China, Germany and the United States. Dr. Jun Ni provided his usual insight on R&D Manufacturing Advances in China with an emphasis on the sheer number of engineers and manufacturing capability that the country can provide. He did point out that they are less likely to innovate than U.S. companies but said that the Chinese are quickly catching up. Dr. Barbara Linke outlined an interesting contrast between the German process to a PhD and the U.S. educational system. She also provided a very quick tour around Germany with information on the manufacturing technology and machine tool research being performed by various institutes. Lastly, Dr. Shreyes Melkote outlined much of the work and advances being pursued by U.S. universities.
This was one of the best Technology Forums that AMT, along with its Technology Issues Committee, has ever generated. Copies of the proceedings and video of the first day will be available soon from AMT.